Behind the seams...the dress that 'doesn't matter'

By Victoria As-it-Seams - 01:47

This may look like a sweet little girl, in a corduroy dress...

But this is actually the result of an experiment in fabric engineering. With dubious results...

This is not a finely crafted blogpost. I'm revealing my 'sketch book' here, my less-than-perfect, creation.
This is Secret Squirrel Dress Number 1, rejected by my 'quality control' in favour of the far more successful Secret Squirrel Dress Number 2, blogged here

 Secret Squirrel is the monthly blogging series organised by Straightgrain and Sewpony with a theme.  Back in October I was took up the challenge with the themes; the Princess Bride film, Watercolours, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Polka Dots and Clock.
This dress was my attempt to incorporate the themes; the Princess Bride and watercolours in a single dress. Watercolours are represented by a patchwork band of brightly coloured silks, made from an old Indian Sari silks. And  for Princess Bride I tried to create a v-shaped waist reminiscent of mediaeval style dresses.

Except it didn't  work. I just could not get that v-shaped insert to lie nicely. It's a self-drafted pattern, loosely based on the Tinny dress bodice I think. I added pink piping (of course) to one edge of the band and was tempted to add it to both, but resisted, thinking less-is-more. And I attempted to create a box-pleat in the skirt at the centre of the 'V.'
Somehow this also doesn't sit properly.

And then there were those Indian sari silks. I cut out the squares from an old skirt of mine, and ironed them to inter-facing, before stitching them together. 

I carefully selected the colours to 'balance' across the waist, choosing a stunning purple for the centre of the band. 

Only I hadn't anticipated just quite how fragile these silks are and, of course, that purple seems the most delicate of all. Look closely at the pictures and you'll see it's already fraying. And now, after a few washes, that lovely purple bang in the middle is already threadbare. Oh, what to do? It's disappearing before my eyes...

But there are some little touches, small things about this dress, which I do quite like. I made different coloured silk button loops on the back. (These are now fraying too!)

And, ironically, because this has been an 'unsuccessful' dress, it has actually been worn more than the others. The sleeveless corduroy seems to work well with layers in winter, and I don't 'care' or 'worry' about this dress. Missy can just wear it and wear it, to nursery or out to play or wherever, and it doesn't matter. I've noticed Mr As-it-Seams often chooses it when he's dressing Missy, as if he also senses it's the 'doesn't matter' dress.

(It is so much the 'doesn't matter' dress, that I've barely 'styled' these photos. Missy is wearing an ancient t-shirt, and I don't have the motivation to re-do them).
And so I've revealled a little of my 'behind the seams' sewing - experiments that don't quite work but bring something unexpected. 
And that's what this sewing journey is all about, surely?


Take One Dress Update 
I'm still bowled over by Natalie's gorgeous creation for the Take One Dress series, and the challenge she's passed on to Marta at Do Guincho. 
And as this series is all about spreading inspiration, I'd love to see any sew-along creations. If you're inspired to sew-along, please get in touch, and I'll post a photo and a link with the next Take One Dress post on February 3. 

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  1. Thanks for posting this dress Victoria - I find the less than perfect projects often just as interesting as the successes! Usually they are the projects you learn the most from, as much as they drive you crazy at the time :)

  2. I love the fact your little girl gets to wear this dress a lot. It is a cute dress. I love how you just go ahead and experiment and try things. How can we learn something without a little (or a lot) of experimenting?


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